How to create privacy in an open-plan office? With soundproof pods! These have become the modern alternative to cubicles, sharing their strengths but not their weaknesses. In this article, we delve into the topic of privacy in office solutions and explore their history along with our predictions for the future. If you find this topic intriguing, we invite you to read on!
The Beginning of Office Privacy Solutions: Cubicles
The first solutions were the cubicles, which offered decent privacy for the employees. Their main advantage was that they gave workers a sense of personal space, which they could use as they wished. They were quite effective at reducing noise as well as decreasing germ exposure. But, as anything, they came with downsides.
The major concern about cubicles was that they made collaboration and communication between team members much more difficult. This could be especially problematic in teams that need to work together and brainstorm, like marketing. Additionally, it soon became evident that managers cannot keep their tabs on employees working in cubicles easily. Therefore, attention was soon brought to the pros and cons of different office layouts, including the open office.
The Emergence of Open Office
Open layouts swiftly substituted cubicles in most offices. They offered much more flexibility and freedom while streamlining collaboration between team members. What is more, open offices have proven to be less expensive than cubicle ones, which further established their status.
Unfortunately, this layout also came with its downsides. The evergoing lack of privacy, little noise reduction, and security have led to lower productivity in many cases. This left managers with no other choice but to find solutions to these office privacy concerns, as the return to cubicles would, once again, create collaboration problems.
How to Create Privacy in an Open Plan Office
Redesigning the open-office plan to include some privacy measures has proven to be the most effective solution in terms of building an efficient office layout. It is also what led to the concept of flexible offices, the future of workspaces that is already coming to life. Let’s now take a look at the solutions that have proven effective in improving privacy in an open office, as they might help you design your workplace.
Acoustic office screens – Simple as they may seem, acoustic office screens became a crucial weapon in the arsenal of managers fighting with noise in open offices. This simple privacy solution does true wonders when placed between desks, effectively reducing the amount of noise in a room and letting employees work in a healthy environment.
Acoustic panels – Along with the screens, you should consider using acoustic panels. When placed on walls or the ceiling, they will absorb the sounds in the office, effectively reducing the number of decibels and making work more comfortable.
Privacy filters – This thin, flat piece of light-filtering material installed on screens does wonders. It protects the contents of an employee’s screen from prying eyes, giving your workers a higher sense of security and personal space, so it is an option worth considering.
Separate, free-to-use rooms – Ensuring that an office has several rooms that the employees may use, for instance, for meetings or to work in complete silence, has proven to be yet another effective strategy against the privacy issues of the open-plan office. This, however, requires space, which is not always widely available.
- Furniture dividers – Another option is to utilize furniture for privacy. For instance, cupboards are excellent separators. They might not be as effective as walls and won’t reduce noise, but if you place them properly, you’ll evoke the feeling of privacy among your employees.
The Role of Office Pod as a Privacy Solution
Office phone booths and pods have also proven to be an excellent privacy solution for modern offices. This is because:
- They don’t take much space – Unlike free rooms, they can be put almost anywhere.
- They come in different sizes – Managers may install both 1-person pods and 10-person ones, giving employees a choice of where to work and complying with the flexible office principles.
- They are perfectly soundproof – Not even cubicles offer such a high level of noise reduction as office pods.
The consequence of these advantages is that most offices already have at least 1-person phone booths for calls. However, the larger variants are also becoming increasingly popular as managers realize the potential of pods as the golden means between cubicle- and open-plan offices.
Privacy in an open-plan office is difficult, but not impossible, to achieve. With proper planning and the introduction of additional equipment, such as office pods, you can create a workspace that both leaves your employees with some personal space and stimulates cooperation – it is time to get to work then.
Did you like this article? We also recommend reading: Acoustic Panels for Open Office Spaces: A Productivity Booster